San Antonio doctor convinces Mark Cuban to invest $250,000 in his invention to relieve hiccups

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio doctor who invented a device he says relieves most people of their hiccups is teaming up with Texas billionaire Mark Cuban to mass-produce the invention.

Dr. Ali Seifi, a neurointensivist at UT Health San Antonio, appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Friday and won a $250,000 bid from Cuba for 20% stake in his hiccup device. , the Hiccaway.

Seifi’s journey to becoming an inventor began the day he was doing rounds in the hospital and saw a patient in pain.

“(The patient) said, ‘Doctor, you know, I’m doing great with my brain surgery, but what hurts me now is this hiccup.’ He turned to me and said, “Doctor, can you help me please?

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According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 92% of people with hiccups who used the device said it relieved their hiccups better than home remedies.

While working on the design, Seifi was suddenly inspired by watching his son suck on a McDonald’s McFlurry straw.

The McFlurry Straw won’t stop the hiccups, but Seifi took inspiration from the engineering and design.

What he found was a flat, greasy L-shaped plastic straw device with a mouthpiece on one end and a small plug on the other. The precisely sized hole is the pressure valve, and when the hiccup sucks water through, it should suck five times harder than normal. The pressure lowers the diaphragm and interrupts the cycle between the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm, and the vagus nerve, which controls the epiglottis in the throat, he explained. In short, it tricks the brain.

“Shark Tank” gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to enter into commercial agreements to market their products nationally. According to UT Health, Seifi worked with John Fritz of the Office of Technology Commercialization throughout the multi-year journey to patent his idea and license it to a company.

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